Division of Comparative Biomechanics

Fall Newsletter 2019

Alice C. Gibb
Oct 30 · 10 min read

Message from the Chair, Stacey Combes, Chair.DCB@sicb.org

As SICB 2020 draws closer, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to our three outgoing DCB committee members — Secretary Sandy Kawano, Program Officer Phil Anderson, and Student/Postdoc Rep Brett Aiello — who did a wonderful job in each of their roles, and also gave their time generously to help and advise me, the newcomer on the committee. John Long (DCB Chair-elect) and I are happy to welcome three new members to the DCB committee who will start their terms at the end of the 2020 meeting — Secretary Emily Kane, Program Officer Matt McHenry, and Student /Postdoc Representative Armita Manafzadeh.

New DCB committee members include: Secretary Emily Kane (left, photo credit: Alan Harvey), Program Officer Matt McHenry (center), and Student-Postdoc Representative Armita Manafzadeh (right).

The DCB committee has been hard at work preparing for SICB 2020 in Austin, where the division will again have a huge presence, with 35 contributed talk sessions, 6 DCB-sponsored symposia, and DCB members presenting in all 3 poster sessions. This year, we will be trying out a few changes, including hosting an on-site DCB/DVM social on the evening of January 6th in order to promote a more inclusive environment for all of our members. Keep a lookout for announcements about other informal social and networking events throughout the meeting. We will also be presenting this year’s Carl Gans Award at the end of the Division’s session of Best Student Presentation (BSP) talks, followed by a special talk by our Gans Awardee. Remember the importance of nominations for the Society’s awards, including for the Gans Award. Please nominate yourself or your colleagues for these awards, which acknowledge outstanding scientists in our division and help lay the groundwork for a long, impactful career.

Carl Gans Award winner Alyssa Stark

Carl Gans Award winner: The Gans Award committee’s unanimous choice for the 2019 Carl Gans Award is Alyssa Stark from Villanova University. Alyssa’s work integrates lab- and field-based experiments with analytical and theoretical models to explore questions about the functional morphology of adhesion in geckos, ants, and sea urchins. Please come hear more about Alyssa’s fascinating research program during a special address she will deliver during the final half-hour of DCB’s session of Best Student Presentation talks on January 4th. We would like to express our gratitude to the three members of the Gans Award committee for their hard work reviewing applications and deliberating to reach a decision about this year’s award.

Best Student Presentations: DCB received an outstanding group of applicants for the Division’s BSP competition. Our finalists will present their work during the DCB BSP talk and poster sessions on January 4th, so make sure to add these sessions to your schedule.

Finalists for The Mimi A. R. Koehl and Stephen A. Wainwright Award for Best Student Presentation in Biomechanics include:

  • Rachel Crane (Stanford Univ.)
  • Jacob Harrison (Duke Univ.)
  • Corrine Jacobs (Tel Aviv Univ.)
  • Armita Manafzadeh (Brown Univ.)
  • Shirel Kahane-Rapport (Stanford Univ.)
  • David Sleboda (Brown Univ.).

Finalists for The Steven Vogel Award for the Best Student Poster in Biomechanics include:

  • Andrea Attipoe (Imperial College London)
  • Katherine Galloway (Florida Atlantic Univ.)
  • Frederik Puffel (Imperial College London)
  • Karisa Quimby (William Paterson Univ.)
  • Wael Salem (Pennsylvania State Univ.)
  • Samantha Smith (Univ. of Texas Austin).

DCB Members Meeting: Please join our annual DCB Members Meeting at the SICB conference to hear about new initiatives and share your ideas and opinions with our biomechanics community. The SICB executive committee always swings through during the meeting and is happy to take your questions.

Nominating Committee Information: This Spring, DCB will hold our election for the next divisional Chair. If you would like to nominate yourself or one of your colleagues, please email Marianne Porter (mporte26@fau.edu) who will be serving as Chair of the Nominating Committee. The deadline to submit nominations is January 15, 2020.

Message from the Program Officer, Phil Anderson, DPO.DCB@sicb.org

I just returned from a whirlwind weekend in sweltering Austin, Texas, for the annual Program Officer’s Meeting. The ever-efficient team of Program Officers once again prevailed over the chaotic mess of talks, posters, student competitions, symposia, divisional members meetings, and socials to create a fantastic program for the 2020 meeting. The DVM/DCB content was handled by myself and my new partner, Mason Dean (DVM Program Officer). While I handled the talks, Mason overcame the jet lag from his cross-Atlantic flight to organize the poster sessions. Once again, our representation at the meeting is sizable. Together, DCB and DVM account for more than 20% of the conference.

DVM Program Officer Mason Dean & DCB Program Officer Phil Anderson give a sneak peek into the chaos behind scheduling the SICB meeting (left). Juggling hundreds of abstracts is no easy task (middle), and sometimes requires a power nap to survive the long work days (right). Photo credits: Phil Anderson & Mason Dean.

SICB Annual Meeting 2020: We have 35 talk sessions, spread evenly across all four days of the conference. Given the strength of our division, there is no getting around the fact that there will likely be multiple concurrent sessions that interest you. Our talks cover a wide range of topics; from elephant trunks and cone snails to regenerating planarians and robotic roots. The talks stretch the entire length of the conference, so please stick around until the end of the last day! For posters, we have a wide range of topics spread over all three poster sessions. Similar to last year, posters must fit within the allotted space of 4’x4’ and should be NO LARGER than 42”x42”.

We also made great efforts to maximize support for the Best Student Paper and Poster sessions. We ensured that there are no sessions of contributed DCB or DVM talks concurrent with the BSP talks, so everyone can attend. Unfortunately, the large number of symposia (discussed below) means that we are unable to prevent overlap between them and the BSP sessions. The BSP talks will run from 10:00 am to noon, with the DCB session on January 4th and the DVM session on January 5th. Both poster sessions will take place on January 4th. After a great line-up of six student talks, we will be ending this year’s session with a 30 min talk by the winner of the Gans Award, Alyssa Stark. Please come and support our students and help celebrate our Gans Award winner.

There are several DCB-sponsored symposia to note for your schedule:

The Divisional Program Officers (DPOs) have also chosen a strong set of symposia for the upcoming 2021 meeting in Washington DC, several of which are sponsored by DCB. Before too long, we will be soliciting potential symposia for 2022 as well. If you have ideas, track down myself or incoming DPO Matt McHenry in Austin; we’d love to hear them!

DCB members may also be interested in attending a workshop on Spatiotemporal Dynamics in Communication that will be co-organized by Kim Hoke, Nate Morehouse, Sara Wasserman, Jess Kanwal, and Nico Hensley. Undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty are all welcome to attend. The workshop is scheduled from 9:00 am — 2:00 pm on Friday, January 3rd. To ask questions or express interest in attending the workshop, members should fill out the following Google form: https://forms.gle/SSM3uZeZic16uRAp7

“Keepin’ it Weird” in Austin: Our DCB Members Meeting will be held on January 5th at 5:45 pm, and everyone is welcome to attend (students and postdocs are particularly encouraged!). Please join us to hear the latest updates from your divisional officers and student / postdoc rep as well as discuss any questions or concerns from members of the division.

Our DVM / DCB social will be on-site at the conference hotel this year to provide a more convenient and inclusive environment that all DVM / DCB members can attend. It will start at 9:00 pm on Monday night, January 6th, to allow plenty of time for people to grab some dinner beforehand. More details to follow once all of the arrangements have been made.

Finally, a few words about the venue. The 2020 meeting will be located entirely within the conference hotel, the JW Marriot, on 2nd Street in downtown Austin. The hotel is fairly easy to navigate, and we tried to keep the DCB / DVM sessions as close to each other as possible. There are also a number of foyers and spaces for chatting and catching up with colleagues. There will be free child care again, including both a nursery room and a mother’s room. Important note for both staying hydrated and reducing waste: there will be water coolers in all of the session rooms, but the hotel will NOT be providing paper/plastic cups. Some ceramic cups for coffee will be available; however, it is highly recommended that you bring water bottles that can be refilled over the course of the day. Food options for both lunch and dinner are plentiful around the hotel, plus the hotel has several restaurants including an outdoor burger bar that also serves breakfast tacos in the morning. All-in-all, we expect another fun and inspiring conference. See you in Austin!

The national meeting will be held at the JW Marriott (left); there are many sights to see nearby, including a beautiful river (right). Photo credit: Phil Anderson.

Message from the Secretary, Sandy Kawano, Secretary.DCB@sicb.org

Welcome back, DCBers! Fall has already kicked off to a busy start and the DCB community has plans for an eventful and productive year. Please see below for some of the latest announcements!

Regional Meetings: Many thanks to all of our (co-)organizers and sponsors for hosting regional SICB meetings this Fall!

  • The Southeast regional DCB/DVM SICB meeting was hosted by Miriam Ashley-Ross at Wake Forest University on October 26.
  • The Northeast regional SICB meeting was hosted by Chris Kenaley and Sarah McMenamin at Boston College on November 2, and featured Eric Tytell from Tufts University as the plenary speaker! Additional information can be found at: https://sites.google.com/bc.edu/nesicb2019/home.

SICB Mentorship program: The society-wide SICB Facebook Group has started a new Mentorship program to help connect our members on Facebook for professional advice and mentorship. Some of our DCB members have already signed up as mentees or mentors, so check it out!

Don’t forget to pack your reusable drinkware and straws! Photo credit: Sandy Kawano.

National Biomechanics Day: Get ready for the 2020 National Biomechanics Day! The official date for National Biomechanics Day is April 8, 2020, but celebrations around the world will be happening throughout spring and even summer. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the importance of biomechanics to the local community and help train students and other trainees in communicating their biomechanics research through public outreach events (an important Broader Impact to report on CVs!). Plus, your National Biomechanics Day event may inspire members of your local community to pursue a career in biomechanics! Please follow along with the festivities at: http://nationalbiomechanicsday.asbweb.org/.

Lastly, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as the DCB Secretary. It has been an absolute pleasure working with the DCB officers and representatives over these years and I look forward to contributing to the DCB and broader SICB communities in the future. See you all in Austin!

Message from the Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative, Brett Aiello, brett.aiello@physics.gatech.edu

Hello DCB Colleagues! I hope everyone is excited for the upcoming meeting in Austin, Texas!

The SICB joint DCB-DVM Twitter feed (@mechsNmorph) and the DCB Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/258733714665123/) are great resources for more frequent updates. Our Twitter account now has over 500 followers! We are using the SICB Twitter feed and Facebook group to post job advertisements, professional development opportunities for students and postdocs, highlight the exceptional work of our division’s early career scientists, and inform the community of other relevant announcements.

The SICB Student / Postdoctoral Affairs Committee (SPDAC) is preparing some exciting programs for the 2020 annual meeting! SPDAC will have an exhibit booth on a variety of “how to” topics (one topic per day) that would be helpful for students and postdocs. Ideas currently include: how to plan a symposium, how to write a teaching statement, etc. If there are any topics that you would like to see included, please email me your suggestion(s) as we want this to be as useful as possible for early career scientists!

The SPDAC brown bag workshop for the 2020 meeting will focus on the theme of transitions in science. We will be discussing ways to successfully transition between all levels of science (undergrad to graduate school, graduate school to postdoc, and the transition between any of these stages to a career in science). Please reach out if you have any further suggestions!

Finally, I am sad to report that my appointment as the DCB Student/Postdoc Representative is ending and the 2020 annual meeting will be my last event as your representative. It has been an absolute pleasure serving the DCB community, and I look forward to continuing my service in other capacities in the future. I am also extremely excited to welcome Armita Manafzadeh as our incoming Student/Postdoctoral Representative! Armita is a Ph.D. Candidate at Brown University and has lots of amazing ideas on how to lead our division in new directions. In the meantime, please contact me by email (brett.aiello@physics.gatech.edu) or Twitter (@braiello; @mechsNmorph) with any suggestions, concerns, or other feedback you might have regarding DCB.

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